Tag Archives: right to life

Reproductive Rights–Very Important

Fetus at 8 weeks

The political discussion surrounding an issue labeled “reproductive rights” carefully avoids what most political discussions avoid: truth.

The discussion labeled “reproductive rights” is not about reproduction at all. This discussion is about not reproducing. The USA is full of people who do not want to reproduce, and we have the statistics to prove it. The political discussion labeled “reproductive rights” is about the fact that many, many people in the USA do not want children.

The lengths to which they will go to avoid having children appears to have no limit.

  • They will take drugs to prevent ovulation.
  • They will take drugs to prevent implantation.
  • They will take drugs to kill the embryo that managed to come to life despite all the other drugs.
  • They will abort fetuses that cannot survive outside the womb.
  • They will abort fetuses that can survive outside the womb using methods that assure the fetus will not survive.
  • They are beginning to advocate that parents have the right to do away with post-born children that displease them.

Activists for “reproductive rights” ask why anybody objects to any of this behavior. They ask, doesn’t a woman have the right to control her own body?

The answer to that question is “yes.” Emphatically “yes.” A woman does have the right to control her own body. A woman can refuse to engage in sexual activity that might lead to the fertilization of an egg in her body. There are certainly situations where that control is wrested from a woman by men whose drive toward sexual climax leads them to assault a woman, but those situations are statistically very rare and can be dealt with as abnormal exceptions to the affirmation that every woman can say “no.”

The one contraceptive that works without exception, every time it is used, is abstinence. This contraceptive is available at no charge to any adult human being by saying the word “no.” With that word, a woman can assert and confirm that she is in control of her body, or a man can do the same. Men also have the right to choose to abstain. Adult humans of either gender can say “no” and abstain from actions that might lead to the conception of a new human being.

The use of drugs and devices and abortions are all statements that an adult human’s body is controlling the human being; the human being is not controlling his or her body. The point of drugs and devices and abortion is that adults, both men and women, have sexual desires, needs, urges, even demands, that they do not want to resist. The subject of “reproductive rights” is about evading reproduction while continuing to engage in sexual activity that is likely to end in reproduction.

There is nothing inherently wrong with sexual activity, just as there is nothing wrong with choosing not to reproduce. There is a lot wrong with doing anything at the expense of the human being one has reproduced. Babies, even babies without faces, babies who have not matured to a point where they could speak, or even think a thought to be expressed as speech, babies at every developmental level, are human beings.

Sometimes discussions of rape or incest or marriage or divorce become entangled in the discussions of “reproductive rights.” . Those issues are related, but not central. The central issue best stated in two questions:

Does an adult human being have the right to control his or her own body?
Will an adult human being exercise the right to control his or her own body?

An adult human being certainly does have the right, indeed, he or she has the obligation, to control his or her own body. An adult is in control of his or her body when that adult makes a choice about sexual activity consistent with that adult’s intent to reproduce or not to reproduce. An adult is controlled by his or her body when the decision about bearing children is deferred until after that adult’s sexual activity has resulted in the conception of a human being.

Related but peripheral questions are:

  • May an adult human being delay pregnancy and childbirth for a time in order to pursue a career? YES. (It is not necessary to murder unborn children in order to achieve this goal.)
  • Does society have the right to impose on an adult human being the obligation to conceive, bear and rear children? NO (Society may not require any adult human being to conceive children. However, after an adult has engaged in activity that results in the conception of a human being, society has a right to expect that the responsible adult will take responsibility for the well-being of the child that was conceived.)
  • Does society have the right to impose on an adult human being a prohibition against conceiving, bearing and rearing children? NO (Society may not forbid an adult human being from conceiving children. What society does have a right to expect is that adult human beings will control their bodies and take responsibility for rearing the children they do conceive.)
  • Doesn’t an adult human being have the right never to be saddled with children if he or she does not want any? YES (It is not necessary to murder unborn children in order to achieve this goal. It is necessary for the adult human being to control his or her body.)
  • Does an adult human being have the right to kill an unborn human being that is the result of the voluntary choice by the adult to engage in sexual activity that could lead to the conception of that unborn human being? NO (To kill a human being who exists because an adult made a mistake is to commit murder.)
  • Does an adult human being have the right to kill a post-born human being under the age of 0 days? 1 day? 1 year? 3years? whose existence is a problem for that adult human being? NO (To kill a human being of any age is to commit murder.)

The Founders of the USA knew that life is God’s most precious gift to human beings. They wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” Life is an unalienable right, and the right to life is one of the reasons that murder is a crime not subject to a statute of limitations. The right to life is so important that protecting it is one reason for the existence of human government. The person who murders another human being knows that he is guilty and subject to arrest and prosecution no matter how much time has passed since the murder. No matter the age or skin color or ethnicity or political persuasion of the victim. Murder is a crime.

Only legal subterfuge by playing with language permits the murder of an unborn baby to be treated any differently than the murder of a twenty-year-old college student. Legal language says that murder is a crime against a person, and the legal term person has a definition not equivalent to the definition of human being. Because our founding documents assert that life is an unalienable right, endowed by the Creator, every law based on a definition of the word person as something different from a human being is actually in error. It is illegitimate, based on the Declaration of Independence, to treat any human being as something less than human, because every human being has the right to life.

The Declaration calls on a still higher power, the Creator, by which the authors of the Declaration of Independence meant God, the God who created the universe. Yet, even if they could be accused of making up God, they could not be accused of making up a right to life. God writes certain truths in the human heart at the moment of creation. Human beings know that certain things are right and others are wrong. This is a fact observed by anthropologists worldwide. Whether one believes that this knowledge originated with God or is simply part of the evolved nature of human beings, it is still the case that human beings all recognize the unique value of human life. Slave-holding societies don’t thrive on a belief that human slaves are worth less than other humans; they shut down their consciences that tell them slavery is wrong by declaring the slaves to be less than human. This subterfuge is the legal equivalent to declaring a fetus not to be a person, and therefore not entitled to human rights.

Secular thinkers proudly declare themselves to be protectors of human rights, even though they deny any divine origin for their values. It is not necessary to acknowledge the existence of God in order to observe that humans inherently recognize the right to life. It is the foundation of human society. The vast amounts of time, energy, and treasure devoted to the protection of life would not exist. The family itself crosses all tribal and ethnic boundaries, as a core protection for human life. If not for the inborn human value for life, nobody would try to find cures for diseases. There would be no Band-Aids or aspirin or heart transplants. Human beings inherently know that the value of a human life is beyond measure. Humans regard it as the ultimate dehumanization to put a price on a life—as in cases of slavery or hired assassins. It is this inborn understanding that makes it necessary in a secular mind to distinguish between a human being and a person.

Every human being has a right to life, just as every man and woman has a right to control his or her own body and sexual activity. Every adult human being has the right to say NO to sexual activity, but no human being has the right to say NO to human life. The unborn baby is a human life, from the moment of conception. The human egg produced in the body of a human woman can only be fertilized by a human sperm produced in the body of a human man, and the consequence of that fertilization is a human being.

Christians believe that God himself creates each human being, which means that, for Christians, there is another dimension in which the issues of life and reproduction are discussed. Christians read the story of God’s creation of human beings and discern his activity in the conception of each human being. Christians treasure the biblical image where God “breathed into [man’s] nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7 ESV). For Christians the issue of the sanctity of life transcends anybody’s personal rights, because a human being is created not only with the God-given right to life, but also with a God-given purpose in God’s created order of things. God has plans for this person. When we argue the right to life with secular thinkers in the public forum, we must speak the language they understand, but in our hearts and minds, we see the whole issue in a much larger perspective. The right to life in time and space has standing in an eternal and infinite context.

To assert a human being’s right to life in a political discussion is to engage in a conversation with people from all points of view. It is a godly work to stand for God’s gift of life and to speak from a godly worldview. It is equally godly to recognize that God created all the participants in that conversation. The person who speaks most vehemently in favor of murdering unwanted children is, nevertheless, created by God. God breathed his breath into that person and loved that person into being. Our discourse on behalf of the right of every human being to life itself must include respectful recognition that God created the opponent in the argument also.

Christians must engage in this discussion remembering that the real enemy is Satan, not the person enslaved by Satan’s lies. Our testimony to the love of God for all people must include his love for those who adamantly reject everything we say. We must copy the model Jesus gave us on the cross when he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Image: courtesy of Phototgraphy by Shaeree :
License: CC BY-NC
Source: http://foter.com

Additional Perspective on Cultural View of Abortion

The Denison Forum provides a broad look at what appears to be cultural turnaround in attitudes toward abortion. Read today’s post and think about it.

How is Advocacy for Life like Advocacy for White Supremacy?

In recent news, the organization Voice for Life was denied status as a university student organization at Johns Hopkins University. The organization states its principle as respect for life from conception to natural death. This principle sounds very much in keeping with the statement in the Declaration of Independence about the unalienable right to life. If people were surveyed with a question asking if they believe that the Declaration of Independence is correct that human beings have a right to life, it is hard to imagine that even one would say “no.” What could possibly motivate the Student Government Association to deny Voice for Life the right to meet and speak and post signs on the campus of the university?

Two reasons were given during a campus Town Hall the day after the SGA voted:

  1. Voice for Life is alleged to be in violation of a university policy concerning harassment and the student code of conduct when it engages in sidewalk counseling near a local abortion clinic, and
  2. Voice for Life’s website includes a link to an “offensive” website, the Center for Bio-ethical Reform, where photos of aborted babies are among the images displayed.

To date, the JHU administration has not spoken to this issue. Readers might legitimately ask if Student Government can possibly be the place where university policy regarding harassment and the code of conduct is enforced. No activities known to be part of the organization’s history fit a dictionary definition of harassment. The conduct promoted by Voice for Life that is prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct is not named. No information was provided in any of the articles available the morning of Wednesday, April 3, 2013, about the wording of this policy.

As to whether the images on the website of the Center for Bio-ethical Reform are “offensive” that judgment would necessarily be subjective absent a policy setting forth any standards. No information available in reports to date specifies what makes the images “offensive.”

The discussion surrounding this decision, including comments in emails circulated among the SGA representatives, is much more informative. Among those emails was a simple statement by a member of the SGA executive council saying, “And this is why we don’t approve groups like Voice for Life.” The statement was followed by a link to an article entitled “Racist Hate Group To Conduct Nighttime Patrols On College Campus.” It might be difficult for most readers to see the connection between advocating for life and advocating white supremacy. Yet this person appeared to see some parallel.

Almost certainly the real problem with Voice for Life is its opposition to abortion. The sidewalk counseling near an abortion clinic is only one expression of that opposition. One SGA member is quoted as saying that pro-life demonstrations make her feel “personally violated, targeted and attacked at a place where we previously felt safe and free to live our lives.” Does it make sense that a person feels her life is threatened by a demonstration in support of the right to life? Can it even be possible that someone feels more threatened by a person who advocates that every human being’s right to life be protected by the culture and the government than by a person who advocates that one person has a right to take another person’s life if that life is deemed inconvenient?

JHU has a right to police its own campus. JHU students can be as exclusive as they like within the boundaries set by the administration. However, the reputation of Johns Hopkins University is not embellished by this action of the Student Government Association. The reputation of the students who make up the Student Government Association is certainly called into question by the fact that on the same day that Voice for Life’s application was rejected, the application of Students for Justice in Palestine was approved, this despite a record of anti-Semitism and disruptions on other campuses. Is anti-Semitism not racism? Is campus disruption preferable in some way to off-campus sidewalk counseling? What are thinking readers to conclude?

A spokesman for Voice for Life has said that the organization is seeking a lawyer to help them press their case further. However, a better use of their time and money might be simply to publicize the situation. Buy ads that tell people that JHU uses its right to privacy to limit the opportunities on campus for like-minded students to associate together in support of the right to life. In times past, stage productions used the phrase “Banned in Boston” as a way to drum up an audience, and the same strategy might work well for Voice for Life.

The organization is not and cannot be suppressed or shut down by the university; it can only be denied the status of a student organization. The SGA has suggested that a new application from Voice for Life that left out the sidewalk counseling might be received and approved. In other words, if Voice for Life stops speaking for the unborn in public, then the organization might be welcome on campus. If Voice for Life wants to speak up for life, it probably should abandon its effort to be recognized as a student organization. Students can belong whether it is a student organization or not. If the price of recognition by SGA is to lose its real message and mission to advocate for the value of human life, then that would be a terrible price to pay. How could they call themselves Voice for Life if they muzzle themselves in order to fit in?

The biggest question for Christians who read about this situation is this:  how it is even possible that the views expressed by SGA members make sense to them? What has happened in the culture that results in young adults who perceive advocacy for the life of the unborn as a threat? Do these young adults even believe that human beings do have a right to life?

What about the person who alleged similarities between Voice for Life and a white supremacist group at Towson University? What possible parallels can be found between advocacy for every person’s right to life and advocacy for white people to rule over everyone else? In current political discourse, the accusation of “racism” is the most vicious slur leveled against anyone. It is frequently used in contexts where the relation to ethnic distinctions is distant or completely unverifiable. Did students learn to apply this epithet to every argument just to be sure they themselves will be exempt from the accusation in case the discussion escalates? Are students at the high school level no longer taught that argumentum ad hominem is an argument used by lazy people as a substitute for actually knowing what the discussion is about?

Young students accepted by Johns Hopkins University would be considered above average by most people. JHU is not a local community college meeting in a refurbished warehouse and taught primarily by adjunct faculty. JHU is where select students are supposedly nourished by a select faculty in order to lead others in their chosen professions or life work. If the attitudes expressed by the SGA are typical of the student body at JHU, what does that finding forebode for the leaders in our culture in five years? In ten years? What does it say about the leaders in our culture in the US right now?